Tarot History 101:
An Interactive Quiz
By James W. Revak

The first Trump from the Visconti-Sforza TartoCorrect!  The answer is B.  Moakley argued in her book, The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family (1966), that early Tarot imagery, to a significant extent, may owe its existence to traditional European carnival processions.  In fact, she suggested that the first Trump depicted the Carnival King (see illustration).  She also argued in favor of other influences, including Petrarch’s poem I Trionfi [The Triumphs].  I am quick to add, however, that not all Tarot historians agree with her positions.

Illustration (above): The first Trump (attributed to Bonifacio Bembo) from the Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo Visconti-Sforza Tarot (mid-15th century) (from The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards by Michael Dummett, copyright © 1986 George Braziller).  He is often called the Juggler or Magician, but Moakley called him the Carnival King.  Click the image for a larger one.

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Copyright © 2000 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 1.0 (8/9/00).